Girard grad Harden big part of YSU success

Tribune Chronicle / Robert Hayes Girard graduate Collin Harden sets a meet, league and school record in the 400 hurdles on Sunday.

YOUNGSTOWN — It’s being described as a “dominating legacy” by YSU track & field coach Brian Gorby.

The YSU men’s and women’s teams concluded the final day of the Horizon League Outdoor Track and Field Championships Sunday on the Penguins’ campus and both teams put on a show, winning the conference in thrilling fashion.

The men scored a total of 311.5 points, which shattered the old league record of 233, and also set a new record for largest margin of victory with 137.

The women claimed their sixth consecutive league title, and their score of 251 is only one point short of the all-time league record.

All of this adds up to a historical weekend for Gorby.

“They’ve got a dominating legacy that will last a lifetime,” he said. “It’s a historical day, and one that we’re going to embrace. Like I told the kids, we’re just going to appreciate it,” Gorby said.

One of the individuals who had a record-setting day was Collin Harden, a junior and a graduate of Girard High School. Harden amazed the crowd with a time of 51.01 seconds in the 400 meter hurdles, which is a meet, league, and school record. He’s also the first person in league history to win the 400 hurdles three straight years.

Harden also owned the previous school record of 52.29 that he set at the Northeast Ohio Quad earlier this season.

“It feels amazing, just doing what I did just proves to everybody that you can do better than you expect.” Harden said. “Just being around a group of guys that care about their events and care about their team, it feels great. It’s a great environment to be around.”

Gorby views Harden as one of the key team players.

“I was just happy for him, because we’ve sent him to some big meets in Miami and Texas and it just hasn’t clicked. But naturally, a lot of these kids are more team oriented, and Collin is one of those guys.”

“He pretty much will do everything and give for his teammates, and we found that out,” Gorby said.

Harden does have bigger goals in mind going forward.

“I can do even better. I expect a 50 flat. Going into the postseason, I’m very motivated just to see what I can do, and just be the best that I can be,” he said.

Gorby has won 41 championship as a coach between men’s and women’s cross country and track & field (outdoor and indoor) at YSU, and looks back on what has worked.

“We’ve always, from day one, have always pushed the positives, and always just wanted to get better and keep pushing the program up higher.

“Sometimes I feel like it’s a dream, pretty much to be able to get the program to 300 points and set records that haven’t been set in 40 years. We’ll be focused tomorrow on recruiting for next year and training for regionals.”